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African American Sense of Community During the Colonial Period, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

Initially as the Africans were brought to America, they were de-Africanized and forced in a slave system. They were not regarded as active participants in cultural process after being separated from their native culture in which they were familiar with. I responding to their loss of freedom, they started molding themselves into a new afro-American culture hence moving away from the culture they had been acculturated in by the European society. The different slaves from different African origin who had varied kinship systems, political structures and social organizations had no common mode of communication. They therefore had to develop a community with a new culture using the elements of their old cultures and shards of the European culture in which they had been fitted in.

The African Americans began exercising a sense of autonomy through the fundamental level of their expressive and interpersonal relationships by establishing friendships, worshiping their gods, falling in love, raising up children and organizing their leisure activities. In this way they were able to innovate a built-in premium culture (Reich 131). For the need of their survival, the states had to adapt rapidly to the new ways of doing things by adopting a “general openness to the ideas and wages from other cultural traditions…” (Nash 173).

The African American looked up for both social and economic spaces for themselves. In places such as Virginia, the Africans were treated as tobacco planters but those who gained their freedom started owning lands by themselves. During the late colonial period most of the African American had achieved a considerable “social space”, whereby they were able to live in close proximity to the Whites. The black culture grew among them and established family lives in the increased diversified economy where they labored. These Africans Americans were marked by varying degrees of political, social and economic advancements. The stateless African Americans were not highly organized into kingdoms; some were simple isolated family states.

According to Nash (p.174-p 180), during the Negro Election Day, the African American slaves got an opportunity of expressing their sorrows and provided a way of choosing their own leaders who acted as adjudicators of disputes and were also regarded as the counselors of this black community. The slaves cooperated in showing their efforts of resisting the slavery which they were in. through their resistance, which took the form of truancy, arson, crop destruction and organized pilfering; they were able to come closer to a “civilized” life. This helped in the attack against slavery and from it they were able to carve their cultural and personal autonomy in attempts of making their lives favorable.

The African American, were also able to bring about a complex religious heritage with deep rooted beliefs. Indeed, religion was regarded as the heart of the African American slave culture (Kupperman 257). The efforts of rebuilding their lost kinship, love, birth, sexually and child bearing and death were important. In the new community, they fashioned intimate ties between couples, children and parents. They encouraged living up together and taking up parental roles. This suggests that African American showed a sense of community irrespective of their origin, social and economic status. They were therefore able to come together with one another in search for common interests.

References

Kupperman K.  Major Problems in American Colonial History. (2nd ed). Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000.

Reich J.  Colonial America. (5th ed). New York: Prentice Hall, 2000.

Nash B. Red, White and Black: The Peoples of Early North America.
(5th ed). New York: Prentice Hall, 1999.

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